Sometimes, the future of your business can depend entirely on getting in front of the right person at the right time. Whether it is a critical sales opportunity, an investor meeting or perhaps a discussion with a strategic partner, landing a hard-to-get meeting can change the course of your business and take it to a new level. But these types of meetings can be tricky to secure. This blog post will explore the next steps you can undertake to land hard-to-get meetings when it matters most.
- Leverage your connections
The best way to get an introduction is through someone you know. People are much more inclined to make time for you if someone they know and trust has introduced you. LinkedIn reveals common connections to help you identify those potential sources of introduction. Take advantage of those relationships to help open the doors and secure meetings. If you are uncomfortable asking your colleagues for an introduction, you can still take advantage of the shared connection by mentioning the name in your outreach to the prospect. Call out the six (or two) degrees of separation and that will make your outreach seem much more personal and credible.
- Befriend the Executive Assistant
A good EA is also a fairly committed gatekeeper. If you are seeking to meet with someone who has a high profile, chances are, they are inundated with meeting requests. They likely defer to their executive assistant to keep their schedules clear of unnecessary meetings. An effective EA is going to take time to ensure that your proposition is meaningful and relevant to their boss. And they may make that determination in a matter of seconds, based only on first impressions. But if you persist, get to know the EA, ask the right questions, and slowly nurture a relationship, you can convince the gatekeeper that you deserve a spot on the calendar.
- Consider reciprocity
The meeting you are pursuing may be game changing for you, but what is in it for the person with whom you are meeting? Think about it from their point of view – how will this be time well spent for their purposes? Of course – you may think you are bringing them the opportunity of a lifetime, but that alone will not twist their arm. What can you bring to the table?
- Use social media
While it’s not a good idea to reach out to a stranger on Twitter or LinkedIn and stalk them for a meeting, social media is a great way to find out what someone cares about. Do they golf? Do they enjoy cooking? Perhaps they went to the same university as you? Follow them on social media, and listen for at least a few weeks. You can like their posts and even comment and jump into the conversation. Familiarize yourself with their priorities. And then, when the time comes to ask for the meeting, reference some of the things you have learned. “I’d love to get some time on your calendar to talk about the fabulous product I am selling” is not nearly as effective as “I see from LinkedIn you are passionate about energy conservation, and I’d love to get your feedback on a new product we just brought to market.”
- Go the traditional route
People are so inundated with cold calls and emails that often, everything seems to blur together. Consider sending mail the traditional way, and rather than sending a letter in an envelope, consider something unexpected – perhaps macaroons, or a great book, or even an orchid. Include your meeting request with the delivery, and you are almost guaranteed to be noticed.
Once you have secured the meeting, you have already won half the battle. If you now need help to plan for your critical meeting, and would like to solicit advice on how best to advance your business strategy, contact Miller Bernstein today.